Harpeth River State Park Manager Bill Morton was patrolling the parking lot at the Harris-Street Take Out on Labor Day when an anxious woman flagged him down. She reported her 13-year-old twin boys were paddling down the Harpeth in separate kayaks and were 2 ½ hours late for arrival at their Harris-Street pick up point.
Ranger Lisa Householder scoured park ramps and parking lots for signs of the boys and Morton drove down Cedar Hill Rd. to check downstream bridges but found no signs of the twins or their kayaks. Morton calculated the brothers had likely been distracted as they passed the big yellow sign announcing “LAST PULL OUT“ at Harris-Street Bridge and inadvertently paddled past where they were to be picked up.
To search down river, the Rangers launched the Park’s newly acquired motorized jet kayak and with Ranger Jacob Hardin at the controls, the speedy kayak raced downstream in search of the missing twins.
The Kingston Springs Fire Dept answered a 911 call and joined the search putting their drone in the air to scan the river. Although the twins had a 2½ hour lead on Hardin, his motorized kayak caught-up with the lost boys in just 30 minutes. Hardin called Morton to report he’d located the boys some 4 miles downriver from the Last Pull Out. The Fire Dept drone captured the moment Hardin tied the twins’ kayaks to his and towed the boys upstream to the Stringfellow Bridge where firemen loaded the twins and 3 kayaks on to the fire engine and trucked all back to the Harris Street Bridge for a reunion with the twins’ mom.
Friends of Harpeth River State Park purchased the motorized Mokai ES-Kape Kayak and donated the boat to the Park for use as a rescue vessel. The Mokai Kayak can go 60 miles on 4 gallons of gasoline at speeds of 20 MPH. The kayak is 12 feel long, weighs 224 lbs. and is powered by a 9.5 HP Kohler engine hooked to a jet drive system that functions well on the sometimes-shallow waters of the Harpeth.
Your donations and volunteerism allow the Friends group to make these kinds of valuable contributions to support Park safety, activities, education, and conservation. We hope you may be inspired to donate and/or get involved.